ABH / GBH / Common Assault – what’s the difference and what should I know?

Posted on 12th December 2018

‘Assault’ is a generic criminal term used to cover a wide range of offences. However, two offences both deemed ‘assaults’ can be at polar ends in terms of harm caused and the ultimate sentence the Court can impose. For example, the lowest category of assault, a common assault, attracts a maximum 6 months’ imprisonment whereas causing grievous bodily harm (GBH), the highest category of assault, can in some cases invoke a maximum sentence of 16 years’ custody. The table below outlines the key differences between various types of assaults and what you need to know should you be accused of one.